It goes without saying, players like shiny new toys their PCs can play with. But, if your players are anything like mine, rewards don’t necessarily have to be powerful in order to provide a sense of intrigue. In fact, some of the more benign magical items can be a good deal of fun for players, as they try to find occasions to use them, and creative ways in which to utilize their properties and/or abilities.
I routinely add low impact magical items to my games through vendors, looting corpses, and as treasure.These items occasionally have a dual purpose, as they can serve as plot devices or as dungeon chum, which allows me to easily develop future adventure hooks. Below are d6 items my players discovered over several sessions. These happen to all have a connection to the 5 senses. In the case of these items, the players concluded they must belong to a magic user, experimenting in the locations in which they were discovered. I had not predetermined who had created/collected the items, or for what purpose. But I ran with their suppositions and they now have a new adversary to hunt down.
|credit: © greg acker 2019|
d6 Benign Magical Items (labeled A through F because of the doodles):
01/A: “Echoic Memory”
A light blue nautilus shell, about the size of a dwarf's fist; mostly unremarkable in appearance. If the owner speaks a sentence into the shell, they can later hear the message by holding the shell to their ear. The message must be no more than around a dozen words. Only the person who spoke the message can hear the message. It cannot be used to cast a spell. The message will last in perpetuity, or until a new message is spoken.
02/B: “Eye Spy”
The eyeball of an alien creature hangs from a gold hued chain. If worn on one’s exterior, like one might hang a pocket watch, the eyeball can be given a command, “eye spy…” followed by a single item. The eyeball will begin to hum and vibrate gently at the sight of the specified item. For example, one might say, “I spy a green door.” When the PC is near a green door the item will react. The eye is only capable of searching for one object at a time.
03/C: “Frog Stone”
The head of a frog, carved from marbled stone. If held in the hand, the user may focus on any place it has seen, within 100 yards, and cause an audible croaking sound to be heard in that spot. The croaking last for 1d4+5 minutes.
04/D: “Just a Touch”
A stout ring made from polished iron, the head features a strange material which appears to be stone. The “stone” is blue with brown and green flecks throughout, which appear to be moving and shifting as if in liquid. The wearer can alter the way the texture of their skin feels to anyone touching them. This effect does not in any way change the wearer’s appearance.
05/E: “Inodorous Drops”
This orchid pink liquid has no taste or scent and becomes translucent when encountering another liquid. Once applied to a liquid, any substance subsequently added will also be tasteless, odorless, and colorless, regardless of what it is. There are 1d4+5 drams per vial. 1 dram is required per standard use (approximately the size of a common cup or mug.).The original liquid retains its properties, not limited to appearance, taste and scent.
06/F: “Upper Crust”
This scarlett cravat, with carmine stripes, is made of fine silk. Whilst wearing it, all odors pleasant or otherwise, are muffled and disguised, rendering the owner odorless. Coupled with the proper jacket, one might just pass for high society.